Love of the “Other”

Love of the “Other”: We face in our country today deep tensions around race, color, religion, and immigration. Fear of “the other” has been increasing, whether the perceived “other” is native born, a new arrival, or just looks like someone that’s “different” from the traditional majority. Isolated incidents of terrorist inspired violence reinforce fears, particularly in communities where that violence has occurred previously. In addition, “white identity” related hate crimes, and violence against people of color, immigrants, and refugees have been increasing (though with far less media attention). Worldwide, the number of refugees and displaced people is higher now than at any other time in human history. People experiencing or fleeing violence seek safety and security, but are at significantly increased risk of trafficking as paths to safety are dangerous or blocked.

  • In Congress: The U.S. has extreme vetting processes in place for refugees to gain entrance, and often takes two years to process families. (Some other visa types are less rigorous). Several immigration reform efforts have occurred in Congress with bipartisan leadership. Time and again, the promise has been made that if border enforcement happens first (along Mexico border), immigration reform will pass. Border enforcement has exceeded even those original calls both under the Bush and Obama administrations, and net immigration from Latin America has decreased over the last several years. President Obama has come to be known as the “Deporter in Chief” with more than 2.5 million deportations, compared to 2 million by President Bush, although he has tried to find temporary paths for residency by immigrants who arrived as children or who have never been convicted of a crime, since there is effectively no “line” for them to get in to come via legal methods. Given campaign rhetoric, substantial work is anticipated with and for people of color, as well as with refugees and immigrants. How can we show through legislation, action, and welcome the love of other (love of neighbor) to which we are called?